Sam Bishop and his wife searched for two years for a place to retire, and they finally found Elkin.
“We wanted to be close to the foothills. We found Elkin, and it was better compared to everywhere else we looked at,” Bishop said. “For a small town, it has great amenities, like the library, the hospital, the arts and the recreation center.”
Bishop and his wife, Patricia, moved to Elkin from Cary 12 years ago, and they got involved right away. After retiring following 24 years as a parks and recreation professional, Bishop is the vice chairman for the Elkin Recreation Board and chairman of the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival board.
“I got involved with the wine festival four years ago. My forte when I worked in Cary was special events so I wanted to help out,” Bishop said.
As the chairman of the wine festival committee, Bishop runs the meeting and makes sure the dozen members on the planning committee have assignments.
“It is a great committee; the last meeting we had before the festival was one of the quickest meetings we’ve had, because everyone is prepared,” he said. “Most of the people on the committee have been on the board since the wine festival began so everything goes very smoothly.”
Parks and recreation and event planning wasn’t always what Bishop thought he was going to do.
Originally from Charlotte, he started out in college as a history major. He dropped out after two years and served in the Navy for six years.
“I grew up a lot while I was in the Navy. I spent my last three years in Washington, D.C. where I ran into a friend who majored in parks and recreation,” he said. “When I was in high school I worked for a Boy Scout camp where I organized and planned programs, and thought parks and recreation sounded like a good program for me to go into.”
After leaving the Navy, Bishop studied at NC State. After graduation he took a parks and recreation job in Cary, near Raleigh, in 1976, and ended up retiring there.
“I thought Cary would be a place I would work for a few years and move on, but the town grew and I started to get more responsibilities and it paid off,” he said. “When I moved to Cary there were 15,000 people, and there were 90,000 when I left.”
Elkin is a nice change of pace from Raleigh, Bishop said. He enjoys the laid back lifestyle and not having to fight traffic everywhere.
Living in a different area also has helped Bishop offer a different perspective in the boards he serves on.
“Each city or town is unique, serving different types of people and facilities,” he said. “I can bring in my experiences, and am also learning a lot from the parks and recreation staff.”
While working in Cary, Bishop managed Fourth of July events, summer camps and the city recreational programs. Helping plan the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival is another feather in his cap.
“Like with anything you are working on, when you finally see the whole thing come together, and people having a good time; you know you’ve done your job.”
Name: Sam Bishop
Occupation: Retired parks and recreation professional
How many years worked this job: 24
Favorite food: Prime rib
Favorite pastime: Volunteering with Parks and Recreation Board, volunteering with Veterans of Foreign Wars and reading
Family: wife, Patricia
Awards or special achievements: Life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Eagle Scout
City born in: Charlotte, N.C.
Church: Elkin Presbyterian
Favorite sports team: NC State
Reach Jessica Pickens at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org